HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Tulane University reminded the University of Southern Mississippi Saturday that any past dominance by the Golden Eagles in the football series between the programs was just that: in the past.
The Green Wave put up more points, piled up more yardage and walked away with its largest margin of victory ever against the Golden Eagles Saturday in a 66-24 road romp.
It marked the most points scored by an opponent at M.M. Roberts Stadium ever. The Golden Eagles allowed 572 yards total offense to the Green Wave, including an eye-popping 430 yards and seven touchdowns on the ground.
“I just want to send an apology to our fans and to our players and our coaching staff and everybody,” USM interim head coach Scotty Walden said. "I want to thank everyone who came to the game. I truly appreciate everybody’s support.
“I was even shocked by the people who stayed around late in the game. I don’t know if I would have.”
For USM fans, Saturday afternoon started idyllic and then turned simply gruesome.
As it had against the Green Wave this past December at the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, the Golden Eagles jumped out to a two-touchdown lead against Tulane on a 2-yard run by Kevin Perkins and an 88-yard touchdown pass from Jack Abraham to Jason Brownlee.
And, as it had this past December at the Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, Tulane merely shrugged and proceeded to overwhelm USM for the better part of the afternoon.
Laurel High School hero Keon Howard, who once played for the Golden Eagles, started at quarterback for Tulane Saturday. He played two series, with one set of downs consisting of turning around and handing the ball off three times for Tulane’s first touchdown.
Freshman quarterback Michael Pratt entered the game with his team trailing 14-7.
Tulane tied the game on Tyjae Spears' second touchdown run before USM grabbed a 21-14 lead when tight end Naricuss Driver scored his first career touchdown on a 62-yard play.
But Pratt found fellow freshman Cameron Carroll to tie the game again with a 16-yard touchdown that marked the first seven of 24 consecutive points to be scored by the Green Wave.
Merek Glover’s 41-yard field goal with 1 minute, 31 seconds, before halftime gave Tulane (2-1) a lead it would not relinquish.
In fact, the Wave would add a touchdown a minute later on Carroll’s 30-yard scoring run, and Tulane led 31-21 at halftime.
Tulane needed all of two plays to open the second half with a touchdown on Carroll’s 52-yard run.
Briggs Bourgeois answered with a career-long 49-yard field goal, but those were USM’s final points, and Tulane piled on another four touchdowns.
Carroll added his third TD on the ground and fourth touchdown of the game in the flurry on a 16-yard run. Petal High School product Stephon Huderson ripped off a 47-yard scoring run and Pratt had a hand in the two other scores, sneaking in from a yard out for one and throwing off play-action to Jha’Quan Jackson for a 42-yard score.
USM could do little after halftime, just three points and 59 total yards to show for two quarters worth of work.
On the other side, Tulane was putting 35 points and amassing 330 yards.
“It’s tough,” said Abraham, who completed 22-of-38 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns with an interception and was sacked five times.
“Obviously, this is not the way we wanted it to turn out. All in all, we just didn’t get in a great rhythm in the second half.”
The 66 points were the most ever scored by the Green Wave against the Golden Eagles, and the win snapped a seven-game losing streak in Hattiesburg.
Carroll ran for 163 yards and three scores on 15 carries, while Huderson added 102 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
“Obviously, it’s embarrassing,” USM free safety Ky’el Hemby said. “It sucks.”